South Sudanese government’s term in office will expire in August this year, if no election conducted and peace accord signed with the rebels, a top government official said.
According to the August 2015 peace deal signed by President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar, the elections must take place 60 days before the transitional period comes to an end in 2018.
Information minister and government spokesman Michael Makuei told Radio Tamazuj on Friday that the unity government’s term in office will come to an end in August.
Mr. Makuei declined to comment further on his government’s plan when the government term expires without a peace agreement reached with the opposition. He said: “The term will expire in August. We cannot talk about it now, and when we reach that time we will talk about what to do.”
Separately, the outspoken minister expressed his frustration with the peace process led by the eastern African regional block saying they are not serious to bring about peace in war-torn South Sudan.
He pointed out that the period given by the bloc to reconvene the second round of the revitalization forum is not enough to reach an agreement on all contentious issues.
“If there were serious they would have not given us four days only to discuss and agree on all the outstanding issues. It is not good to negotiate under pressure, so we need time so that we reach lasting peace,” Makuei said.
“If we fail to reach an agreement within the four days given by IGAD, the mediation will decide on the way forward,” he added.
The regional bloc overseeing the talks, IGAD, has set a deadline from 26 to 30 April for South Sudan’s parties to agree on all contentious issues.
Rebels urge additional sanctions
Rebels on Thursday urged the international community to impose additional sanctions on the Kiir administration until there is real progress toward peace in the world’s youngest nation.
Henry Odwar, deputy chairman of the opposition group led by Riek Machar, said in interview with Radio Tamazuj that the region and the international community should do more to pile pressure on South Sudan’s government to accept peace.
“I think the international community will not tolerate the continuation of the current situation in South Sudan,” Odwar said.
“If the conflict continues, the international community should really act to make sure that the government chooses peace as the only alternative,” he added.
South Sudan government has recently criticized calls for all-out sanctions against the nation saying the sanctions would derail the peace process.
It said the sanctions emboldened the opposition groups who now believe the Juba government will collapse at any time soon.
The US Commerce Department recently imposed sanctions on the oil sector in South Sudan. The Trump administration said those South Sudanese entities were substantial sources of revenues for the government, accusing the government of using those entities to fund violence.
The US government also banned the export of weapons and defense services to South Sudan in a reflection of its growing frustration over the newest nation’s bitter conflict.
The Enough Project on Thursday urged the European Union to more clearly and consistently assert leadership and develop much-needed financial leverage that could support a truly reinvigorated peace process in South Sudan, a country hijacked by corrupt elites and marred by brutal conflict and urgent humanitarian crises.